In just 10 days, the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte will once again host its annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam, a three-day celebration of art and culture. This innovative event, the first and only graffiti jam in Indian Country, will incorporate mural painting by guest and local artists, live music and comedy from award-winning native performers, youth art classes, cultural exhibitions, and so much more.

Scheduled for June 28-30, RedCan 2018 will feature returning artists East, Wundr, Cyfi, Scape, Dwayno Insano, Siamese and Biafra Inc., as well as first-time RedCanners Ryoe, Sadat and Hoka. All 10 artists will be painting in CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park, as well as at select mural sites around the Eagle Butte community.

In addition, the nonprofit youth and community development organization will welcome award-winning Sicangu Lakota rapper Frank Waln for an outdoor concert on the Waniyetu Wowapi stage at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. Waln grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation and attended Creighton University, where the Millennium Scholar was pursuing pre-med. Instead, he moved to Chicago, started producing music, and today is the recipient of three Native American Music Awards.

Then, at 2-3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 29, Dances With Words will take the stage. This First Peoples Fund youth development initiative works with youth, adult mentors, high schools and nonprofit partners on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, empowering participants to become engaged students and community leaders through literary, spoken word and other art forms. Dances with Words connects young people to these traditions through the study and creation of literature, poetry, spoken word, and music. At the same time, the program uplifts participants’ stories within their own community and beyond. 

And returning to CRYP after a successful Mother’s Day concert last month is Mylo Smith Jr., who will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. An enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Smith has been a comedian since 2006, when he made his debut to a crowd of 14 in Rosebud, South Dakota. Over the years, he had the opportunity to learn from his mentor, native comedian JR Redwater; travel throughout the country; and place third out of 60 in a Hollywood comedy competition. 

The fun will kick off on Wednesday night, June 27 with a special artists’ reception at 4 p.m. for CRYP’s teen art interns. Their artwork will be on display in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center each day of the RedCan event, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. After the reception, RedCan artists will sketch with youth from 7 to 8 p.m., while those seeking to stretch their legs may participate in the Glow Run 5K at 7-8:30 p.m.

The next morning, RedCan officially launches. Each of the three painting days will start with a drum song and blessing at 8:30 a.m., and conclude with a prayer and drum song at 6 p.m. Artists will paint at their designated sites from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, vendor booths in the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and CRYP will host a youth traditional dance exhibition with youth drum group daily in the art park at 1-3:30 p.m.

Throughout each day, young people of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in art classes through the First Peoples Fund’s Rolling Rez Arts bus, as well as at art activity tables throughout the CRYP campus. On deck are dart painting, mixed media, oil pastels, sugar paint spray art, “squeeze and spray art,” crayon melting, bubble art, tie-dying and “catapult art.” Not only will kids be able to try a wide variety of mediums and styles, they’ll be learning from established professionals from all over the country who have built their careers in the arts.

RedCan is the signature event for CRYP’s new Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute. RedCan gives Cheyenne River’s young people, and the community at large, an unparalleled opportunity to experience the contemporary graffiti art movement, learn about different techniques and styles, and paint alongside master artists from across the country and even around the world.

To help support this ground-breaking event, please visit and consider making a contribution. All proceeds will be used to purchase paint, artist supplies, food and beverages, and to help cover the artists’ travel expenses.

The public is welcome to attend RedCan. Lodging is available at area motels; since rooms do tend to book out quickly, CRYP is offering camping for up to 100 people at its East Lincoln Street campus. 

For information about this year’s RedCan invitational graffiti jam, please visit, where you also can view the teaser trailer for RedCan 2018, video documentaries and photo galleries from the first three annual events, artist bios, and more. In the coming weeks, CRYP will be sharing more information about planned activities and performances through the website and social media—hashtag #RedCanRising and #RedCan2018.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.